Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre
project update
Why are we doing this?
The category one heritage building had to be closed in November 2017 when a seismic assessment identified it was earthquake prone. This coincided with the completion of a detailed business case for a refurbishment to optimise the use of the venue, following community engagement and consultation.
Work on seismic strengthening and refurbishment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre is expected to start towards the end of 2019 following detailed design work currently underway. 
The strengthening and refurbishment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre aims to transform the facility from just a building to a facility capable of offering the range of services, shows and experiences expected from a performing arts centre. 
The design restores and enhances the building’s two heritage wings, connecting them through a new floating roof, giving the Centre a contemporary feel through the use of warm wood features, reflecting Council’s wood-first policy.
The redevelopment will include refurbishment of the building's interior and exterior, restoration of heritage features, external landscaping and lighting.
Foyer - This modern space will incorporate stories of Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue into the wall designs, with Sir Howard Morrison celebrated through an exhibition of his awards and memorabilia.
Concert Chamber - The Concert Chamber will become a flexible performing space able to seat from 100 to 300 people.
Civic Theatre - The Civic Theatre capacity will be increased to 950+ seats, with enhanced acoustics and air conditioning. The orchestra pit and stage apron will be extended.
The core seismic strengthening and building upgrade project has been costed at $17.9million, with additional enhancements identified to improve the building’s function as a performing arts centre. The enhancements will only occur subject to funding being sourced externally.
Council has committed $11.5m towards the project, and to date, a total of $6.6million has been raised externally, bringing the total committed project funding to $18.1million. Sir Owen Glenn has pledged $3million, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust has committed $1.5million, New Zealand Lottery Grants Board has committed $1.2million, New Zealand Community Trust has approved $750,000 and One Foundation has pledged $125,000. The core project is now fully funded with on-going funding raising now concentrating on enabling prioritised enhancements to improve the Centre’s functionality for performing arts.
The Shand Shelton concept design included a stage two option, to replace the curved Banquet Room with a built-for-purpose performance space, storage space, and truck dock. That will only happen if the additional estimated $4.8m needed can be sourced externally.
○ Rotorua Lakes Council $11.5m
○ Glenn Family Foundation $3.0m
○ RECT $1.5m
○ NZ Lottery Grants Board $1.2m
○ NZCT $750,000
○ One Foundation $125,000
○ Total cost of core project - $17.9m
Was it necessary to close the building?
The detailed seismic assessment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre put the building in the earthquake prone category which makes it a high risk building should there be a seismic event. The safety of the public and staff is our priority. Regardless, we would not be able to work around the remedial work which is now required.
When will the Centre reopen? 
The Centre is scheduled to reopen in 2021.
How much will it cost to fix the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre?
The core project is set to cost $17.9 million. Council has committed $11.5 million towards the seismic strengthening of the Centre. The balance of the $17.9 million has been sourced externally. Additional enhancements, that improve the functionality of the facility for performing arts, will be added in as additional external funding is secured.
How did this impact staff at the facility?
There were seven staff based at SHMPAC who have been redeployed to the Energy Events Centre during the closure.
What are the outcomes of this project?
○  Address opportunities to strengthen the cultural and performing arts offering by providing a venue that can showcase all forms of performance, create vibrancy and increase use of the Centre
○  Upgrade the building for earthquake stability, provide safe access for our community and a secure house for our taonga
○  Create a fit-for-purpose venue to encourage more users/promoters/presenters to offer more performing arts for Rotorua and visitors
What are the benefits of this project?
○  Enriched creative experiences for the community
○  Increased use of the facility by performing arts groups
○  Alternative performance space for shows
○  Provide affordable performance space for local or smaller shows
○  Offer a variety of entertainment options for locals and visitors
○  Create a positive identity reflecting Rotorua’s strong arts, performance and Māori culture
○  Support Vision 2030 – strong culture, easy lifestyle and diverse opportunities
Should we be concerned about other Council buildings?
No. An audit of all major public council buildings was completed some time ago. Earthquake strengthening work has already been done on the Haupapa Street library and the Fenton St iSite. Rotorua Museum will remain closed until strengthening and restoration is complete.
These buildings were all identified some time ago as being an earthquake risk under legislation introduced following the Christchurch earthquakes.
Buildings deemed to be a risk require further assessment to ascertain whether they are earthquake-prone and therefore require remedial work.
Construction methodology has changed and so has legislation in terms of required standards so these have impacted on the safety rating of many buildings around the country and a number of public Council-owned buildings have closed around New Zealand.
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